Key to the warming of relations between Cuba and the U.S. was the release of three spies jailed for more than a decade in American prisons. In the U.S. the three were members of what had been known as the Cuban Five. Two of the group had been released earlier. In Cuba, the spy ring has been the center of a 16-year propaganda campaign by the Castro regime to secure the prisoners' release. In a minute, we'll hear reaction from Miami. But we start in Havana, where NPR's Carrie Kahn reports the return of the prisoners has been a national celebration.
Here in Cuba they're simply known by their first names.... and collectively the Cinco Heroes, the Heroic Five. Their faces are everywhere... on national t.v., street billboards and the official party's newspapers. Cubans got a good look at them after 16 years during last weekend's official t.v. broadcast of the party's National Assembly. The entire hall stood for a rousing standing ovation.